color guard

Technique tutorial: flag spinning

Color Guard members are often seen decorating the field with flurries of color as they twirl their flags and weapons in organized formations during field shows. Along with the toss of each flag, they radiate confidence that flows through the audience in a showcase of school spirit.

Color Guard uses dance, flags and weapons for their performances. They do their field shows and take them into competitions. Practice, which ranges from developing choreography to tossing different objects, requires commitment and are essential to this activity.

“I definitely recommend [being] confident about [throwing a flag for the first time] because it’s important to have confidence when you throw something like that,” sophomore Ryann McGhee said. “If you don’t [have confidence], you’re [going to] get scared and possibly hurt yourself. So confidence is just the main thing that is taught for new people.”

Using newfound confidence, beginners move on to the more technical aspect of throwing and catching a flag, the most basic being initial hand placements on the flag. The right hand should be holding the silk while the left hand should be near the middle of the pole. In this position proper posture is having feet shoulder width apart. Then to throw the flag, it is important to know how hard to spin it. The force spinning the flag up has to be exact so that it gets the proper amount of rotations for the toss.

“Online it’s a lot more difficult [to teach and] to see if everyone is doing the same movements correctly,” senior Ellisa Miranda said. “Sometimes our computers lag, some people get cut out of the meeting.”

As the flag is in the air, the left hand is on the leg while the right hand is around head height. As the flag comes down and the hands are getting ready to catch, the right hand can move downwards slightly but the left cannot move until the flag is really near. It is imperative that during this time, a person catching the flag does not close their eyes. When the toss is finished and the catch is successful, the movement should return to how it was while preparing for a toss.

“It takes a lot of dedication and I feel like you have to have a lot of motivation to improve and part of being in color guard [is] you have to be in sync with the rest of the team. You have to have some motivation to improve so the team stays together,” junior Emily Hsu said. “But [the team] doesn’t leave you behind, they help you improve also. A lot of people help each other so you don’t really feel alone if you’re not able to keep up.”

By Rikka Tagayuna, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of Ryan McGhee